1 Introduction

1.1 Overview of NICE

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), established under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, is the executive non-departmental public body responsible for providing guidance and advice to support health and social care commissioners, providers and others to make sure that care and preventative services are the best quality possible and offer the best value for money. NICE has a statutory role that encompasses the development of quality standards, advice, information and recommendations about NHS, public health and social care services. NICE provides independent, evidence-based guidance on the most effective ways to prevent, diagnose and treat disease and ill health and reduce health inequalities and variations. NICE guidance on public health topics makes recommendations for populations and individuals on activities, policies and strategies that can help prevent disease or improve health.

NICE guidance on health technologies includes the use of new and existing medicines, treatments and procedures in the NHS; this includes medicines and use of medical devices and diagnostics. Putting NICE guidance into practice can be challenging, and this is why NICE provides support.

1.2 Purpose of this process manual

This process manual describes the role of the medicines and technologies adoption team in supporting the adoption of NICE-recommended health technologies.

NICE process manuals are produced to ensure that NICE programmes of work are carried out in an open, credible, transparent and timely way, allowing input from internal and external stakeholders.

This process manual is written to:

  • help members of the adoption team perform their role and work effectively with other NICE teams

  • help other NICE teams and external stakeholders understand the role of the adoption team in supporting the adoption of health technologies recommended by NICE.

It does this by:

  • defining how the adoption team works alongside NICE programmes that produce guidance

  • describing the processes involved in developing adoption support resources

  • highlighting where liaison with external stakeholders and other NICE teams is important.

The adoption team works closely with other NICE programmes, so this process manual should be read in conjunction with other NICE process manuals including the medical technologies evaluation programme process guide, diagnostics assessment programme manual, developing NICE guidelines: the manual and the assessing cost impact: methods guide.

A list of abbreviations and glossary of terms used within this process manual are provided in appendices A and B.

1.3 Overview of the adoption team

The adoption team provides a systematic approach to the adoption of new health technologies (devices, diagnostics and medicines) that have had positive recommendations from NICE.

Putting new health technologies into practice can be challenging for a number of reasons (often called barriers to adoption). These include:

  • Significant changes to current processes or procedures.

  • The time available to make changes to ways of working.

  • The time available for training.

  • Cost and budgetary priorities.

  • A lack of leadership for innovation.

  • Understanding the need for making changes.

  • Being able to implement changes.

  • User acceptance (this may include both patients and healthcare professionals).

The adoption team identifies NICE guidance which has significant barriers to adoption and develops resources to support their implementation. These resources may cover any NICE guidance topic except for highly specialist technologies and cancer drug guidance.

The overall aims of the team are to:

  • promote innovation and growth in the health technologies industry by supporting adoption of selected health technologies recommended by NICE

  • provide focused practical advice and support to encourage the implementation of guidance

  • work with the NICE impact team to measure the impact of NICE guidance

  • support those who commission and provide health and social care to improve the efficiency and the effectiveness of services using health technologies

  • support the provision of high-quality, evidence-based, cost-effective care for patients.

1.4 Overview of adoption support resources

The adoption team produces adoption support resources (sometimes referred to as 'insights') for selected health technologies. To do this the team works closely with health and social care organisations that are commissioning, providing, implementing or using a technology (or group of technologies) that NICE has recommended.

The aims of the adoption support resources are to:

  • provide real-life examples of how services have implemented a new health technology

  • identify key national priorities that support the adoption of the technology

  • help health and social care organisations anticipate challenges and potential barriers when considering the adoption of a new health technology

  • help local health and social care organisations to identify solutions based on experiences of other services

  • provide tools and documents than can help services plan for and better implement new health technologies

  • help providers and commissioners to review current service provision and make a business case for change.

See section 2 for more information on the adoption support resources.

The adoption team also makes sure that adoption support for guidance is consistent with NICE's efforts to promote equality and eliminate discrimination.

1.5 Key audiences

Adoption support resources published by NICE are of interest and relevance to a range of external stakeholders:

Organisations

  • Health and social care providers, including NHS formulary committees.

  • Regional medicines optimisation committees.

  • Commissioners including clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), NHS England, the Department of Health, local authorities and Public Health England.

  • Academic health science networks.

  • Pharmaceutical companies.

  • Medical technology companies.

  • Patient organisations and groups.

Individuals

  • Health and social care practitioners responsible for putting new health technologies into practice.

  • Commissioning staff including clinical leads and chairs in CCGs and clinical and commissioning networks.

  • Staff with a responsibility for quality improvement.

  • Business managers, finance and procurement staff.

  • Patients and the general public.

See appendix B for more information on who is involved in the work of the adoption team.